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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

To Run or Not to Run

I came home from visiting my family in America over the holiday season. To my delight, it was a cold and snowy Christmas for me. Of course, I have been training very hard leading up to my overseas trip and I didn't want to "miss a stride" (no pun intended-sorry) while traveling, so I kept running in the frigid temperatures and snow.

This proved to be a costly mistake for me. I came back to South Africa to the worst Flu I have ever had. Fever, aches, body pains, shivers and a terrible cough. This even kept me from work...and if you ask any of my colleagues, you will know that I rarely take sick leave. South Africa's got to know its weather forecast! ;-)

Well, this led me to a dilemma that I have never faced before. I was scheduled to run the "Bay-to_Bay" 30km race (Camps Bay to Hout Bay and back) last Sunday with my girlfriend. We are a competitive couple, so this added a lot of pressure on me to actually run the race. My doctor strongly advised against running with such a low immune system (even though I was starting to feel better on race day). He informed me that I could put unnecessary strain on your heart if you overdo you exercise routine too soon after a major sickness. 

It was tough call, but I took my doctors advice and decided not to run. I now have adopted the "neck-check test" (which has not been proven by any medical community mind you). This theory involves diagnosing your own symptoms before you make the call to run a race or not. Here's how it works according to Mindy Solkin, who is the Owner and Head Coach of The Running CenterTM

"If your symptoms are "above the neck"… runny or stuffy nose, sneezing or sore throat, a little easy running probably won't do any harm and, in fact, might even help. Exercise releases adrenaline, also called epinephrine, a natural decongestant, which may explain why a run seems to clear nasal passages. Whether you choose to run indoors or out, monitor your body for any symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or profuse sweating and STOP RUNNING if any of these symptoms occur. If, on the other hand, you have "below the neck" symptoms… fever, fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, sweats, swollen glands or a hacking cough, then this indicates that you probably have a virus. Running under these conditions increases dehydration and can lead to more serious problems, so DO NOT RUN."

I figure there are several races for me to compete in but I have only one heart/immune system. I think I will take the doctors advice on this one.

Happy running everyone! See you at Sea Point Pools at 5:30pm on Thursday 10 January for our first AdiActive run of the year.


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